Virtual orientation experience will welcome new students

Transitioning to an online format this summer, Orientation and First Year Programs will offer new students the same high-quality preview of student life at NIU.

In addition to an overview of the Huskie experience, new students will meet virtually with their academic advisors and register for classes as part of the required orientation.

 “We are still working hard to connect our incoming student population with all of the great resources available to them at NIU,” said Jac Cooper, associate director of Orientation and First Year Programs.

Based on the university’s careful monitoring of the coronavirus (COVID-19) developments, the decision to move to a remote format is in the best interest of the health and wellness of the community, Cooper said.

Orientation dates will remain the same to avoid any potential confusion for students who have already signed up for orientation.

“All communications going out to our future Huskies have been updated to inform and assist students through our new orientation process,” Cooper said.

Through Virtual Admitted Student Day events, many students already have experienced and learned how to navigate the software they’ll use for orientation. The technology platform enables live chats, presentations, panels discussions and on-demand video content.

New students will be required to complete a guided Pre-Orientation Program module before their orientation dates. Once complete, they’ll be connected with academic advisors and receive scheduled times for advising sessions on their orientation days.

“As we transitioned to an online format, we prioritized advising, exposure to important resources and building community,” said Renique Kersh, associate vice provost for Student Engagement and Success. “Even if we are not meeting face-to-face, we want to ensure that our new Huskies can begin connecting meaningfully to their new home.”

Students and their families will be granted access to several live and recorded sessions on various topics, including Financial Wellness, Housing and Dining, Campus Life and Campus Resources. And they’ll be able to meet with student orientation leaders via virtual chats throughout the summer.

Students admitted to the CHANCE program, student athletes and students interested in or admitted to University Honors will have the opportunity to engage with staff in these programs through live sessions prior to orientation.

Online updates underway for Orientation and First Year Programs include first year and transfer FAQ pages created in response to the changes.

Those with questions or concerns about the new orientation process are encouraged to contact Orientation and First Year Programs at orientation@niu.edu.

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